CDFW Program Manager will speak at third Earth, Water, Climate Series Program

The public is invited to the third “Earth, Water, Climate Series” program on Saturday, January 24, 2015, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the Redding Library Community Room.

Local community members are presenting the third “Earth, Water, Climate Series” forum on Shasta & Tehama County timber harvest in the Library’s Community Room, 1100 Parkview Avenue, Redding, CA. Local concern stems from the 2013 report by the California Natural Resources Agency that states 25 percent of the non-federal timberland in Shasta County was logged in the years 2003-2012.

Presenters are Marily Woodhouse, Director of the rural grassroots group Battle Creek Alliance, and Joe Croteau, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Timberland Conservation Program Manager. Timber harvest impacts and regulations in our area and some elements of climate change will be explored.

The documentary “Clearcut Nation” produced by the Battle Creek Alliance will be shown. This documentary describes one aspect of timber harvesting and includes interviews with local botanist Julie Kierstead Nelson and former logger Randy Compton. Interviews include Dr. Tom Myers, hydrologist, Dr. Dennis Odion, fire ecologist, and Monica Bond, wildlife biologist. Local artist Chen Compton drew artwork for the film and local musician Matthew Songmaker provided music.

Joe Croteau will provide an overview of CDFW’s role in reviewing and monitoring timber harvesting plans (THPs). He will discuss CDFW’s challenges and priorities for 2015 and beyond. Joe will also discuss how the public can participate in THP review, and provide a walk- through of the “ftp” website that contains timber harvesting documents.

The audience will be invited to participate in a question and answer period after the presentations.

Drought Woes Continue at Shasta Valley Wildlife Area

As of mid-January, the historic drought continues at Shasta Valley Wildlife Area. Last year’s wet season wasn’t very wet, with rain and snowfall at about 20 percent of normal. This was on top of the previous year, 2013, that was also considered dry by regional climatologists. The consecutive dry years resulted in two out of three water storage reservoirs being dry, or nearly so. The third reservoir, Trout Lake, is down about 40 percent. The wildlife area staff was unable to flood seasonal wetlands for the fall migration and had to cancel some public hunting programs.

A very wet December brought hope that this year would be wetter. The Little Shasta River swelled with runoff from the moist Pacific storms. Wildlife area staff took advantage of this opportunity and was able to divert a substantial amount for a few weeks. That flow has subsided now. What’s left is a long range forecast with little hope for significant rain and snow, and still nearly dry reservoirs. On top of that, snow pack in the watershed is only about 30 percent of normal. Typically, the heaviest rainfall occurs in this area in December and January, with February also an important month. Whether or not the drought continues will depend upon what happens in the next six weeks.

~Text and photos contributed by Wildlife Habitat Supervisor R. Robert Smith

Bass Lake Drought November 2014

Bass Lake Drought, November 2014.

Steamboat Lake, January 2015.  The fence post in the foreground marks the lake level when full.

Steamboat Lake, January 2015. The fence post in the foreground marks the lake level when full.

Ash Creek Wildlife Area Restoration Project

Phase I of the Ash Creek Wildlife Area restoration project restored 1,232 acres of wet meadow habitat. Aerial photos show the area before restoration, during, and after Phase I restoration activities. Phase 2 is currently under construction.

~Text and photos contributed by Wildlife Habitat Supervisor James Chakarun

Aerial photo of Ash Creek Wildlife Area in November 2007.

Ash Creek Wildlife Area in November 2007.

Aerial photo of Ash Creek Wildlife Area during restoration in September 2012.

Ash Creek Wildlife Area during restoration in September 2012.

Ash Creek Wildlife Area showing completed Phase I restoration.

Ash Creek Wildlife Area showing completed Phase I restoration in March 2014.